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The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ located in the upper right abdomen, just under the liver. Its main function is to store and release bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver. Gallstones are hard, pebble-like substances that can form in the gallbladder or in the bile ducts, which carry bile from the liver to the small intestine. There are two types of gallstones:
Cholesterol stones: Cholesterol stones are the most common and are made mostly of cholesterol. These are typically a yellowish-green colour. They account for 80 percent of all gallstones and are the most frequent type.
Pigment stones: Pigment stones are smaller and darker, and are made of bilirubin, a substance produced when red blood cells are broken down.
Excess cholesterol in bile
Excess bilirubin in bile
Gallbladder not fully emptying
If you have gallstones and are experiencing symptoms, treatment may be necessary. Treatment options may include medications prescribed by your doctor to help dissolve gallstones or to prevent new stones from forming. If medications are not effective, or if you have severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) or to remove the stones from the bile ducts.It is also important to make changes to your diet and exercise habits may help prevent new stones from forming.